Belle (Ryû to sobakasu no hime) (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 121 minutes

Belle (Ryû to sobakasu no hime) (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Animations, Soundtrack, Story, Basically everything
Bad: DVD version should have had some extras
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

While the world has been focused on Amazon’s Rings of Power, HBO’s House of the Dragon, or She-Hulk’s twerking, we decided to direct our attention to a retelling of sorts of a tale as old as time. Even though we are not treading in Disney’s territory for now, Belle gave us the impression it would be an anime version of Beauty and the Beast. Even though we adored this cartoon (and to a lesser extent the live-action version), we were unsure if another remake would hit that sweet spot. After watching this masterpiece by Mamoru Hosoda, we quickly left Beauty and the Beast in the rearview mirror. What we presumed would be a modernized anime-esque version of the beauty falling in love with the kindhearted beast turned out to be a very original story with only a small trace of the aforementioned classic.

Belle tells the story of Suzu (Kaho Nakamura), who lost her mother in a very traumatic way when she was still a very young child. Due to this trauma, she can’t sing in front of people anymore and is pretty much a very reclusive teen. She hangs out with Hiroka (Lilas Ikuta), who tries to get Suzu out of her shell. After a while, Hiroka sends an invitation to Suzu to join the online world of ‘U’. Suzu accepts the invite, and an avatar is created to represent her in this crowded online world. In ‘U’, Suzu’s avatar is called ‘Bell’, as Suzu means Bell in English. Upon entry, Suzu feels different and is able to sing in front of people again. Her singing immediately goes viral, and she becomes a sensation overnight. When she gets invited to do a massive concert for the 5 billion inhabitants of U, she decides to give it her all. When her concert gets interrupted by a ghastly avatar that is called ‘The Dragon’ (Takeru Satoh), she is intrigued to know why he has a hideous avatar and why his character runs around with ‘bruises’. In a true Beauty-and-the-Beast-like fashion she grows closer to him, all while the peacekeepers of justice are trying to locate the Dragon and get him expelled from the online community.

The flow and pacing of the movie are spot-on. The film gives you more and more information about what happened when Suzu was a lot younger, and the movie fleshes out its characters quite well. Even though Suzu is the character that sees the most evolution, others are more than just friendly faces that pass the revue. The movie does keep the viewer on the edge of their seat, slowly revealing what is going on. There are quite a few surprising twists and turns that make the film more than just a ‘cute’ story. We were quite entertained, and we couldn’t help but constantly speculate and wonder who the so-called Dragon is.

Even though the movie has plenty of amazing cast members voicing the characters, our focus was immediately placed on Kaho Nakamura, who voices Belle/Suzu. Not only does she nail her role as the insecure Suzu, but her alter-ego, Bell(e), has the most wondrous voice that captivated us from start to finish. Nakamura has no problems singing with different types of background music, and she does such an amazing job that we can easily recommend watching the movie with the original Japanese voices. While we are undoubtedly sure that dubs of the movie will also have a certain appeal, as well as make it easier to watch the movie with a younger audience, even then we still suggest watching the movie a second time with the original voice cast bringing the characters to life.

The DVD version of Belle sadly comes with no notable special features. The only extra you’ll find on the disc is the trailer for the film itself. This feels like a huge missed opportunity, as it would have been amazing to have a bit of the soundtrack present on the disc, or a feature that revolved around the creative process behind the film would have also been heavily appreciated.


Whether or not you’re a fan of anime, if you’re looking for an experience full of wonder, innocence, beautiful visuals, and a stellar soundtrack, you’ll find it all in Belle. The movie has the power to drive you to the edge of the seat during its action-packed scenes, make you wonder about life during the more sober and calm moments, or simply break you down to tears during its grand finale. In a day and age full of remakes, reboots, and rereleases, it feels unreal when we discover a film where not a single bad remark can be given. Belle’s ethereal allure will captivate young and old. This is a modern fairytale done right.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Belle (Ryû to sobakasu no hime) (DVD) - Movie Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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